It is nearly 3 weeks since the fire. Where have we got to? Well, we have a new temporary office space, with small kitchen, toilets, phones and internet. Staff therefore are pretty much functional! Tunnock’s biscuits and homemade Welsh cakes have been eaten in large quantities and we are very grateful for them! Thanks Ro’s mum!
Communication went into overdrive. Booked groups of adults, schools and youth societies have been cancelled. New bookings held at bay. Courses are on hold. No entry signs and new boards and banner have been designed printed and hung. The Newsletter is now monthly – sign up here https://frogmorepapermill.org.uk/ scroll to bottom of page.
We have an estimated 280 artefacts damaged by fire, including printing presses, bookbinding equipment and Philip Cox sculptures. We rescued approximately 135 objects from the burnt, visitor centre displays and a further 70 items went to Saints Restoration and Salvage, for immediate preventative action to avoid ongoing corrosion. But this doesn’t mean we can keep all of them! Some artefacts are damaged beyond repair. Others are in a poor condition and if we have duplicates, there is no point keeping contaminated items, so the decision may be to dispose of them. We have had to be constantly conscious of cross contamination with the main collection in the archive.
A good example is the John Dickinson commemorative bricks. Brick is porous and therefore hard to clean, we have several and to take a contaminated brick and put it in the archive is risking damage to more precious items.
Many meetings have been held and ideas thrown around of how we may move towards recovery. Nothing yet decided.
Meanwhile in the machine house, Fourdrinier No.4 has been taken apart for vital repairs and girders painted. A very old, cracked water pipe in the yard is being fixed which is not an easy task. Volunteers are hard at work on the Apsley Mill site. In short it is easier to list what hasn’t changed, than what has.